The letters of Hilde and Roland afford high-school and university educators an opportunity to approach teaching from a different angle. A focus on a rich set of primary sources like this correspondence, available in both the original German and English translations, can provide students with a view of everyday life in the Nazi era from the perspective of ordinary Germans. To make these historical sources more accessible to diverse audiences, we want to develop resources to support interdisciplinary, intermedial, and transnational teaching.
The development of this curriculum is pending successful grant applications. An overview of the proposed curriculum can be found below and a sample unit here (Unit 1). License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 ©2019.
These integrated teaching units are designed for students of German culture, history, and/or language; instructors are encouraged to adapt this flexible curriculum to suit their individual needs. It is pitched toward students who have some basic familiarity in those areas.
11th or 12th grade students in AP, IB, or Dual-College-Credit world or European history courses and/or
Students in their 4th or 5th year of German, for DaF students
1st, 2nd, or 3rd year undergraduates in general education, the humanities, or the social sciences and/or
Undergraduates in their 3rd or 4th year of German at the college level, for DaF students.
The curriculum is structured into eleven units, three of which are currently being drafted. Each unit focuses on a selection of “interesting” letters written during roughly one “season” of between two and six months. The units cover the “prewar” period in their relationship from May 1938, when they began their courtship, to July 1940, when they married. A few weeks later in August, Roland was conscripted into the German military.
Each unit also corresponds directly to a scene in an historical play staring Hilde and Roland as the protagonists. Entitled Love in the Time of Hitler: A Courtship in Letters, 1938–1940, it uses the letters to dramatize everyday life from the perspective of two ordinary Germans. During its premier at a workshop in May 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri, the play was performed and recorded in English. The play is also available in German translation based on the original letters.
These units are supported by a wide-range of resources in a variety of media.
The historical drama itself, available:
Submit your students’ responses for publication to the Project Leaders. Or invite them to comment on the letter directly!
Using these resources, an international team of experienced teachers from high schools and universities have designed a series of flexible classroom activities and assignments for each unit, tied to learning objectives
Each units may be taken in isolation or placed together as a curriculum, though we recommend assigning Unit 1 as a foundation.
In keeping with the principles of the public humanities,